Album Pieśni is the third solo project from Krzysztof Lepiarczyk, founding member and keyboard player with Polish neo prog band Loonypark. Given the peripatetic nature of this group of musicians, frequently collaborating on several projects at a time, it is no surprise that he is again joined by fellow Lynx Music stablemates from Millenium as well as acoustic project Padre and of course Loonypark.
The songs contained in this collection are wonderfully evocative, a smouldering mixture of love and regret, beginning with the opening ballad W Zimowej Nocy, where plaintive piano chords paint the landscape in the dead part of the year with a yearning sense of pent up emotion, building into a powerful heart wrenching climax before ebbing away again. The sense of loss and recrimination continues into Dalem Ci Noc which begins somewhat in the manner of a torch song, although it quickly picks up with electric keyboards and shimmering, wailing guitar which maintains a sustained howl over the vocal. A strong start indeed, although I was less convinced by Tym Ktorzy Smutni...Rozlaczenie where the spoken word sections and bippy keyboard effects left me as cold as the relationship of the song, with Preludium again a bit of a curate's egg of a song - good in parts but didn't work for me as a whole. Fortunately the proceedings quickly get back on track for the second half with the triumphal Mglawice-Niesmiertelni which packs a massive amount into its 5 minutes. The spoken word narrative continues to intrude, but it may just be me that has a problem, relying solely on the music and a fundamental understanding of the titles to follow what is happening. If the album starts on an elegiac mood, this section is full of anger and aggression, Nie Mow being roared repeatedly in hollow desperate defiance over a scintillating guitar and grinding keyboard solos. The sprightly opening of Daremne Zale with its jazz tinged keyboard is almost jolly by comparison with a singalong chorus no less. The collection closes in an effective mix of skirling synthesizer and reflective vocals sounding some form of resolution from the preceding turmoils.
This is a strong collection which, even in Polish tells a story effectively through the music. As expected the band is collectively excellent and although I'm not a fan of the extended narrations or some of the choices of keyboard effect. For my liking there is too much that is too tinny, too intrusive and could have been happily cut out, but you pay the money, you get to play what you like, I guess. Nonetheless that's just my taste, and I'm sure many fans would disagree. These quibbles aside this is an entertaining piece of work, and at its best, which is often, it is very good indeed.
**** Andrew Cottrell
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